Sarah and I have talked about weekends before on the Best of Both Worlds podcast, but it’s always a topic of interest. So we decided to revisit it!
As with many things pertaining to time, weekends are different for people with small children vs. people without small children (or people who have small children but magically don’t seem to be doing much of the hovering required to keep them from sticking forks in their eyes; we can all ponder what is going on in those families…)
For the required hovering to be equitably split, families really need to talk through the weekend ahead of time. Yet another argument for planning!
We both talk about what a “good” weekend looks like for us. I like a date night, a long run, and a family adventure somewhere (visiting the cherry blossoms, a zoo trip, whatever). I sing in my church choir most Sunday mornings. Sarah also likes her date nights and workouts. They tend to eat out as a family at least one night. Because G is in the toddler stage (16.5 months) they are very careful to use nap time wisely.
My weekends are definitely starting to change as the kids get older. The 4-year-old still gets up early, so there isn’t much sleeping in but he is a little bit more trustworthy than in the past. This is an exciting development!
We are both fans of compressing (or getting rid of, if possible) chores and errands. Setting a window for these things, or for work projects, allows you to relax the rest of the time (or as much as one can relax with little kids…)
This week’s listener question comes from a woman who is newly back from maternity leave. She worked from home when her baby had a fever one day. I should note (which I didn’t in the episode, but maybe our listeners understood this) that over the long run it’s important to have back-up coverage for when kids get sick, and you can’t work without childcare daily, but with a baby who probably naps twice during the day, someone working from home could certainly get some chunk of the job done. The situation is different with toddlers (see above) though again, in a pinch, there could be iPads and an afternoon nap. In any case, she thought all went fine and she got her work done but then her manager did an about-face and said the second time this happened that she needed to take PTO. She noted that she was excellent at her job, much of which could be done flexibly and remotely (e.g. on a sick day do some during naps, do the rest in the evening), but her manager seemed to be old school and didn’t want to set a precedent.
Our listener had basically talked herself into looking for a new job by the end of the question — which is definitely an option — but we mentioned other options too. If her manager is worried about a precedent, she could suggest rules that would limit people’s ability to work from home. We could argue about the wisdom of this, but if it matters to him, then this could be a starting point. Maybe work-from-home privileges could be limited to people who had excellent performance ratings, or who had been with the company for 3 years. Maybe there could be an annual limit on such days. But we noted that the manager might wind up learning a lesson here — our listener will find a new job and her manager will be stuck training someone who may not be as productive as her, even with her covering the occasional baby sick day. Hopefully he will have the self-knowledge to learn from this experience.
Please give the episode a listen! And let me know — what does a good weekend look like for you?